The UK and Ireland distribution market’s run of twelve consecutive periods of ‘quarter-on-same-quarter-the-previous-year’ growth’ has been abruptly halted by an unexpected decline in Billings in April ‘19.
Bookings increased by 4.2% in Q1’19 compared to the same period 2018 but Billings showed a 1.3% decline.
Total Monthly Billings in April ‘19 declined 16% when compared to the previous month but thanks to continued growth in the semiconductor sector, remained ‘flat’ compared to the same month 2018.
Overall Bookings crashed 27% in April ‘19 compared to the previous month and also showed an 18% decline on the same month 2018. The Book-to-Bill (B2B) ratio in April ‘19 declined by 14 points to 0.92:1, with the polynomial trend line suggesting a continuing ‘flattening’ as we progress into Q2’19.
The Sales by Month “three month moving average” for all electronic components is also suggesting low growth into the second quarter of 2019, which remains broadly in-line with ecsn/afdec member forecasts.
“This is a disappointing result and well below the Q1 ‘19 Billings growth of 5%-to-11% forecasted by our members in December last year”, Fletcher said.
He puts much of the decline down to the fact that customers have been consuming the buffer inventory they stockpiled in response to the BREXIT delay, and to tough market conditions.
“For the same reason ecsn’s afdec members have also been juggling their inventory in an attempt to hold it in-line with actual customer demand”, continued Fletcher. “But as the BREXIT date remains fluid, all organisations will have to retain buffer inventory for a longer than they expected, which will add significantly to their costs, until the extra inventory is finally consumed.”